Third-grader Emmett Flores lives in Fredericton but was born in Sydney, Australia.
“Emmett was our best souvenir that we got from Australia, my husband did a year of school in Sydney and while we were there, Emmett was born,” said Charlotte Flores, Emmet’s mother.
Emmett has always had a deep passion for Koalas and the land down under. When the bush fires began ravaging most of the country, Emmett’s mom says he was overcome with emotion.
“I know it’s a crisis,” said Emmett Flores.
“We had a conversation and he was just really devastated and didn’t want to really talk about it so we started talking about solutions,” said Charlotte Flores.
So Emmett took immediate action.
He started shoveling snow and scheduled a bake sale to raise money for the koala hospital in Port Macquarie, New South Wales.
Due to the fires, officials in Australia worry the Koala has moved from a vulnerable listing to being considered an endangered species in some parts of the country.
“For $40 you can adopt a Koala for a year, so he now has enough to adopt seven Koalas,” said Charlotte Flores
In addition to shoveling, Emmett has set up a crowd-sourcing page online. Emmett would like for other kids to get involved and shovel snow to raise funds and awareness for animals in Australia.
“I’m quite proud of him it just shows some initiative and it’s a neat lesson for him and others,” said Joel Flores Emmett’s dad.
The Flores family is also concerned about loved ones they influenced to move to Australia for university.
“They’re there now during these bush fires and so we’ve had direct contact and it’s something that’s been a concern for us, but they have been really encouraged to see Emmett, who they met when was just born, step up and be so passionate,” Joel Flores said.
“Moving forward, I think that we really want to look at how to preserve the habitat for koalas — a lot of these animals are going to need lifelong care,” said Charlotte Flores.
In Australia, the Federal Environment Minister established a $50 million emergency fund to address the immense loss to wildlife.
“The more money that gets raised, the more Koalas that are going to be saved,” said Emmett Flores.